Sharon Loper Triton Museum of Art

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Triton Museum of Art Permanent Collection
Curator's Statement
By Susan Hillhouse

Through her work in The Sanctuary, Sharon Loper offers intimate insight into an artist's way of being in the world. The almost tangible aura encircling the eleven bronze sculptures and nine soiar etchings presented in this exhibition emits from her approach to art as a holistic expression of concerns of the heart, mind, body and soul.

In both her sculptural work and in her solar etchings, Loper reveals that as an artist, she is both an alchemist and a visionary, both form and spirit. Giving herself over completely to the creative impulse and process, Loper approaches two-dimensional work and sculpture similarily: hands-on, emotionally and physically involved in the complex process of artmaking.

In speaking of her work, Loper says, "I always do preliminary sketches for everything, be it sculpture or etchings, i become the thing that I sketch; feel it; look at the environment around it; understand it. Then when I refer to my sketches later to do the final piece, that feeling is transferred to whatever I am working on."

Loper creates expressive work that is informed by her curiosity with the relationships and alliances animals and humans develop within and without their respective emotional worlds. Central to the exhibition are two large bronze figures, a man and a woman, who share space with two wolves, male and female, and three ravens. Loper finds connections between the human's and wolf's need to socialize and be part of a greater family or tribe unit and the ways in which they negotiate and compromise for the good of the group. Loper chose to include the raven in the grouping because she is captivated by its intelligence and its mysterious way of moving through life. She is intrigued that, like some humans and like all wolves, ravens mate for life and take care of their partners. And, she is amused that also like them, ravens can be capricious and cunning as well as industrious and thoughtful.

The Sanctuary is meant to be seen as a protected space without fear, a safe place of harmony and contentment. To enhance this philosophical statement, Loper created solar etchings to surround and enclose the space inhabited by the bronze sculptures. The images of trees incorporated within the etchings symbolize Loper's regard for all things living. Windows illustrated within the tree trunks give the viewer a psychic glimpse into another dimension, a dimension that is meant to reveal how integral nature is to our psychological, emotional and physical well being. Loper cites environmental issues as the impetus for creating work using the sun, rather than acid, to etch her images. This method allows Loper to work in her traditional printmaking manner of combining ink drawings with stencils and chine colle without compromising her health or that of the environment.

The work of Sharon Loper exemplifies an intensity of purpose, demonstrates a passion for excellence and discloses an understanding and sensitivity to materials and to the physical world. Sharon Loper imbues her work with active and communicative properties that convey the message that all living organisms share an intrinsic relationship that cannot be undermined by a human-imposed hierarchal order.

Susan Hillhouse
Chief Curator
April 2001

© Sharon Loper 2024